A guide to Field Service Automation

Introduction

80% of the world's working population is deskless. Meaning, they do not sit at their desk to do the work. While a lot of them still work in factories and stores, over 40% of the deskless workforce work in the field. They move products or provide services.

Field service is where a human being needs to be there to provide the service. But, a machine can support the human being that will make them very effective. For example, field service automation can improve efficiency of the service by over 50%.

In this article, we will provide a basic outline of how to automate field service.


What is Field Service?

Field Service can be defined as the work done in the field. Some common examples of Field service are

- Logistics like delivery, first mile, last mile.

- Home Services like HVAC, plumbing repairs

- Field Sales activities

Field service is usually employed by a business. The business can include single member organizations to Fortune 500 companies.

Why do we pursue Field Service Automation?

The right automation of Field Service is known to improve the efficiency of the workforce by over 50%. This means, the business employing the right automation can provide the same service 50% cheaper or 50% faster to customers.


Objectives in Field Service Automation

The individual objectives tend to differ from company to company. But the objectives can be largely grouped under the following main categories.

Optimization Automation

Optimization is the act of automating the Field Service at a global level. For eg., optimization will aim to solve for the best route a sales person can take. Or, the right task to do first vs last. Or, who should do which delivery.

Several optimization functions that are commonly used are

- Route Optimization

- Batching Optimization

- Allocation Optimization

The overall objective of the Optimization automation is to reduce the unnecessary effort put in by the Field Service Agents.

Execution Automation

Execution automation takes care of automation at the agent level. It guides the Field Service Agent at the time of execution. It exactly tells them what to do, when to do and how to do. This helps them make less mistakes and do the job efficiently.

The overall objective of the Execution Automation is to reduce mistakes made by the Field Service Agents.

This improves customer satisfaction and reduce errors in the operation.


Tools to automate Field Service

Let's look at what tools are available to automate these.

For Optimization automation, there are a few tools like Locus.sh, Fareye which provide a ready-to-use platform. You can also build your own algorithms easily using Google Mobility tools.

For the execution, it is a lot more difficult. There are a few SaaS tools available like Brigg and OnFleet. But most businesses tend to have a unique spin on the process which makes SaaS tools not very useful. In those cases, you can use Zorp. Zorp provides all the building blocks so that you can build your own execution apps in a few minutes.